Something I put together with a little help from sketchup. At the bottom of the post is a quick analysis of how many of these vehicles it would take to take care of small package delivery and solid waste collection in a Seattle-sized city;

The video below demonstrate two  modes of operation. In parallel mode wheels are oriented to pick up or drop off uniform containers.  In-line wheel configuration allows vehicles to move at speed in traffic lanes, on road margins, and in more constricted transport corridors. 

The future is, in retrospect, both less surprising and curiously different than we imagine.

The problem is that we cannot see beyond a lifetime spent in a world of cars, any more than or great-grandparents could see beyond a world of steam, or theirs of horses..... But we can look beyond the disadvantages of driverless cars as we now envision them (and envision simple solutions);

Disadvantage #1
They scare us-- so they should be small, and not too fast.

Disadvantage #2
They might hurt us -- so they should be free of drivers and passengers

Disadvantage #3
They might take jobs we like -- so let them take jobs we don't

And as a bonus, a quick assessment of the capacity of a fleet of these Lightweight Automated Vehicles (LAVs)

  • Maximum vehicle capacity: 5 x 50 lb. cargo units = 250 lb.
  • Average load of assumed to be 40% capacity -- 2 of 5 units -- @ 100lbs.
  • 3 second headway per vehicle at average speed of 30 mph. (1200 vehicle per hour, one vehicle per @135ft)
  • Intersections capacity 50%
  • Operational friction capacity 70%
  • Arterial one way vehicle capacity:  1200 x .5 x .7 = 420 vehicles per hour ( @840 cargo units or 42,000 lbs-21 tonnes)
  • Arterial per mile capacity; @15vehicles/mile (including friction and intersection limitations) 15 x 100 lb = 1500 lb.(.75 tonnes/arterial mi)

- 1530 lane-miles arterial in Seattle  (Seattle DOT)
           - 7,500 (SAV) vehicles operational (33% maximum road capacity)
                       - average clearing of loads every 20 minutes (3x per hour)

.75 tonnes/mile (See Load Calc)  
x 1530 arterial miles
                                   x 3 loads/hour
x 33% capacity
= 1,130 tonnes/hr  (@27,000 tons/24hr)  

= 540,000 units/loads per day


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